FIFA players, according to EA, are really impressed with the game's controversial loot boxes

FIFA players, according to EA, are really impressed with the game's controversial loot boxes ...

EA continues to defend the exploitative microtransaction in its crown jewel, FIFA, four years after the disastrous launch of Star Wars: Battlefront II. EA pledges that players will love them as well.

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Ultimate Team and FUT Packs, which have been part of FIFA for more than a decade, are a game that players appreciate, according to EA in a statement yesterday. Fans enjoy that the game represents the real-world excitement and strategy of assembling and managing a team. It's fair to give players the opportunity to spend money if they want to.

The publishers' latest endorsement of loot boxes comes as it prepares to launch FIFA 23, the last game in the FIFA series to be rebranded as EA Sports FC. This comes a month after the UK government announced that loot boxes would not be considered as gambling because of their greater likelihood of gambling, mental health, financial, and other problems.

Ultimate Team is FIFA's most popular online mode. It revolves around assembling a dream team composed of players acquired from opening card packs. Higher-rated players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and former icon Pele perform better in matches, but also are extremely difficult to obtain. The service calls it a harmless, fun surprise mechanic, and has maintained in the past that it is not gambling.

EA claims that it encourages players to earn packs by playing the game, yet it still allows them to acquire packs for real money. Given the fact that there is an entire industry around YouTubers and influencers glorifying pack opening in search of the rarest soccer stars, it is easy to see why such a move might be a bad idea.

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EA has continued to prosper in part due to the ongoing success of its loot box-based Ultimate Team modes, which have earned the company $1.62 billion in 2020. The mode, featured in Madden and NHL as well, has remained consistent throughout the year.

As Eurogamer points out, there is still regulatory pressure in Norway, Belgium, The Netherlands, and other European countries, where FIFA is the most popular, to combat gambling mechanics in games. In Belgium, where loot boxes have been strict prohibited, EA has removed them from the game.